Marana's Bobby Duncan came home from the 2010 U.S.A. National Special Olympics Games in Lincoln, Neb., this week wearing a bronze medal around his neck.
The games, which took place over a one-week span ending Saturday, had an indescribable yet incredible atmosphere, according to Bobby's mom Olivia Wells. "It was electric," she said.
Lincoln hosted 3,000 U.S. athletes. Duncan, one of 33 Arizona athletes and one of four from Tucson, competed in the pentathlon and 4x100 relay.
His bronze was awarded for his performance in the five-event pentathlon – the 100-meter dash, 400 meters, shot put, long jump and high jump. He was two points shy of receiving the silver.
Duncan's teammates didn't come home empty-handed, either. Tucson athlete Lois Purvance won silver in the 50-meter walk, and David Fischer of greater Tucson won silver in the 800-meter run.
In total, Team Arizona returned with eight gold, 13 silver and seven bronze medals. "The results have been outstanding," said Jeff Golner, public relations agent for the team.
Arizona's athletes had an additional opportunity to be recognized for their accomplishments at a welcome home party this past Saturday at US Airways Center in Phoenix. Guests included former NFL quarterback Dave Krieg, Ms. Arizona United States Tristan Topps, and the Phoenix Coyotes mascot Howler.
There were more than 30,000 cheering spectators and 8,500 volunteers. "They had so many volunteers they had to start turning them away," Wells said. "The whole thing was spectacular. There was so much love, so much encouragement, and so much support."
One night, when Duncan and his family went out to dinner, Duncan sporting his medal, a group approached and congratulated him on his achievement.
"It was a good experience for him," Wells said. "He's glad he did it, he's definitely proud of himself. If he has the opportunity to do it again, he'll definitely do it."
Special Olympics aims to create special moments for its participants, "It was really emotional," Wells said on the event. "It was fabulous, truly great."